The past will always haunt you, goes an adage. And so will design mistakes if you're a mobile app developer. Effective, user-friendly design is what distinguishes successful apps from millions of others. Why do so many fail? The reason is often as simple as errors in design. With so much competition in the app market, such mistakes will ensure that your creation ends up gathering virtual dust. This is a problem because most apps are designed to bring in more business, and with huge sums invested in them they need to provide high ROI.
Here are four common design mistakes that can ruin your mobile app, and how to avoid them.
1. Forgetting that first impressions are last impressions
The app should make the user fall in love at first tap. According to Statista's July 2015 report there are 1.6 million Android apps and 1.5 million iOS apps. Amid this mammoth competition, what are the changes that your app will get noticed? This is where first impressions come into play. If your app doesn't grab the user's attention right away, it simply sinks into a jumble of other forgettable apps. Also remember that the app abandonment rate is 20% in all categories, and you don't want yours to end up that way. Start with quick load times, and perhaps use an animation video to keep the user engaged while loading.
2. Overlooking the on-boarding process
Developers often forget that the first-time user won't approach the app the same way they do. Navigating the various features of an app is easy for developers but new users need assistance to get them started. It's therefore a good idea to have a walkthrough video to demonstrate the app's features and functionality to the user. Without a demo for guidance, a user could easily get frustrated and bin your app, without ever discovering all the great features you've built in. Make sure your video is simple and easy to understand; including an animated video will make a great first impression and grab the user's attention. Also remember that the entire app's design is easy enough to use without the need for a manual. Your app's design must be stress-free for everybody, right from a three-year-old to your grandmother.
3. Lack of design and UI consistency
In the quest to make the mobile app unique, designers sometimes get a bit carried away while expressing their creativity. What sometimes results is different designs across all app stages. Such inconsistency is evident in different-coloured page backgrounds, difference in fonts and typography and navigation errors. This affects features, the look and navigation. The design pattern, navigation, colour and typography should be similar across all pages. If not, it leads to chaos.
4. Replicating the web UX
A user's interactions with web app and mobile app are different. The expectations on both these platforms are different. Since the smartphone screen space is limited, the developer's focus should be on minimalism and including only the most important aspects.
This includes giving equal importance to the size aspects; every clickable button's width should be similar to the width of a human finger.
These four critical app design mistakes should be avoided at all costs. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in the position of the target audience. The most successful apps utilise user-centric design to attract and retain consumers.